Introduction to senior fitness training

Consider this advice from the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health for a moment:

“There are 1,440 minutes in every day. Schedule 30 of them for physical activity!

Regular exercise is a critical part of staying healthy. People who are active live longer and feel better. Exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight. It can delay or prevent diabetes, some cancers and heart problems.

Most adults need at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity at least five days per week. Examples include walking briskly, mowing the lawn, dancing, swimming for recreation or bicycling. Stretching and weight training can also strengthen your body and improve your fitness level.

The key is to find the right exercise for you. If it is fun, you are more likely to stay motivated. You may want to walk with a friend, join a class or plan a group bike ride. If you’ve been inactive for awhile, use a sensible approach and start out slowly.”

From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Back to the introduction to senior fitness training

Health note: Before going any further answer the following questionnaire and then discuss it with your health care provider.

Physical activity readiness questionnaire-(par-q).

(Courtesy of the University of Minnesota and Supertraining by Mel C. Siff).

For most people, physical activity should not pose any problem or hazard. However, for others this questionnaire may identify the small number of people, ages 15-65, for whom physical activity might be inappropriate or those who should have medical advice concerning the type of activity most suited to them.

Common sense is your best guide in answering these questions. Please read them carefully, answer them honestly, and circle yes or no opposite the question that applies to you. Follow the directions listed at the end and heed the advice contained therein.

If need be, consult with your doctor before continuing.

  1. Yes No Has your doctor ever said you have heart condition and that you should only do physical activity recommended by a doctor?
  2. Yes No Do you feel pain in your chest when you do physical activity?
  3. Yes No In the past month, have you had chest pain when you were not doing physical activity?
  4. Yes No Do you lose your balance because of dizziness or do you ever lose consciousness?
  5. Yes No Has a doctor ever said your blood pressure was too high?
  6. Yes No Is your doctor currently prescribing drugs (for example water pills) for your blood pressure
  7. Yes No Has your doctor ever told you that you have a bone or joint problem such as arthritis that has been aggravated by exercise, or that might be made worse with exercise?
  8. Yes No Is there a good physical reason not mentioned here why you should not follow an activity program even if you wanted to?
  9. Yes No Are you over age 65 and not accustomed to vigorous exercises?

Is there any good physical reason not mentioned above why you should not follow an exercise program even if you wanted to?

If you answered YES to any of the numbered questions, you must consult your doctor to obtain written medical permission before exercising.

I certify that my answers to the above questions are accurate and honest.

Name                                        Date

Introduction into the benefits of exercise

Introduction into the benefits of exercise

Exercise, in all of its various modes, has been the topic of numerous scientific studies and tests for over one hundred years. Recent research has targeted in on the beneficial aspects of consistent physical exercise. This research has identified physical exercise as being responsible for increasing the potential for a healthier life by alleviating many of common health problems in our society. Health problems such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure, and diabetes are well known issues that can be life altering if left unattended. By participating in a daily exercise program, the effects of these diseases may be decreased or possibly even avoided. These changes begin to show up within several weeks, with just a few minutes a day.

I encourage you to find a competent certified trainer to guide you along your path to better health and physical fitness. The NSCA has a listing of certified personal trainers and strength coaches here at

260519 Military Press

Military press

Cliff is doing a quick specific exercise warm up with this military press prior to moving up in weight. He has already used the skip rope for his overall body warm up. He generally does a minimum of forty repetitions for each exercise, not counting the warm ups.

In this particular case, we combined it with pull downs after each set of military presses.

This moves the training session along a big faster and keeps his heart rate up a bit higher than normal.

This is how he does the military press:

  1. Lift the bar off the floor to your shoulders or stand upright under it in a power rack
  2. Hold the bar with a closed overhand grip, a bit wider than shoulder-width
  3. Press it up and over the top of your head until both arms are fully extended
  4. Lower it back down under control and repeat for one repetition
  5. Keep a good grip on the bar until it is securely racked again or placed back on the floor

190519 Starting a weight training program

190519 Starting a weight training program

Often times a person thinks long and hard before beginning a fitness or strength program. Along the way these questions invariably arise:

  • How do I start?
  • Where do I begin?
  • What do I do?
  • What exercises should I be doing?
  • How do I do them?

Women generally ask how do I flatten my stomach, get rid of the flab on the backs of my arms or strengthen my bones. Men are asking how to get a six pack and want to know how to bench press more weight.

These questions can be answered by a certified and competent trainer. Notice I did not say just a certified trainer but a competent one as well. A certification from a recognized source such as the National Strength and Conditioning Association implies the trainer has demonstrated superior knowledge, is competent to coach and is well up to the training task. Competency and results are the proof in the pudding as the saying goes. After all, it truly is a buyer beware situation when you are trying to get stronger and are paying out good money for the results you desire.

The short and sweet of the beginners training starts out in this manner:

A beginning routine consists of large muscle group exercises (as noted in the following list) featuring balanced applications of sets and repetitions for both agonist and antagonist groups. After a movement specific warm up is completed then each exercise is performed ten to twelve times do eight to ten repetitions for two to four sets. A set is one group of eight to ten repetitions.

120519 Introduction to aerobic conditioning

120519 Introduction to aerobic conditioning

Aerobic conditioning is your body’s adaptations to working continuously ‘with oxygen’ or in other words ‘with air’. It is also known as cardio respiratory endurance or aerobic power. The word ‘power’ indicates a strong response to imposed conditions.

Cardio work is a continuous activity that puts an increased demand on the heart, lungs, and circulatory systems of the body. Generally, large muscle groups of the body are involved for extended periods without a break, thus the term, ‘with air’. The original term “aerobics” came from the father of cardiovascular training, Dr. Kenneth Cooper, of the famed Cooper Institute.

It is a recognized fact that aerobic conditioning accomplishes all of the following:

  1. It has the potential to increase life expectancy
  1. Improvements occur in the overall quality of life
  • Overall improvements in health and well being
  • Reduces fatigue and increases the adaptability to meet the challenges of each day as they arise
  1. It can improve appearance, posture, self confidence and self concept
  • Positive body composition changes occur with regular aerobic exercise
  • Muscular endurance and muscle tone changes are positive in nature
  • Stress maybe reduced
  1. Improvements in relaxation ability and decreased sleep pattern disruptions
  • Positive cardiovascular changes and improved sport performance result from aerobic exercise
  • Reductions in blood pressure and cholesterol may result-studies indicate this to be true
  1. Increased bone density due to the impact of the jogging or running
  • Seniors may become more independent
  • Finally, the ability to physically meet and hopefully overcome emergency situations

050519 Jo, practicing her balance

Jo is a licensed mental health professional. She and her husband are constantly on the go. They walk, garden, and tend their lawn, shop, travel and exercise. They are fully engaged, mentally and physically, in living life to the fullest.